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Stadia's not had a spectacular launch, not in the sense that servers were down or games were exploding, or even that the hardware wasn't working pretty much exactly as advertised - it just hasn't set the world on fire. Google's game streaming platform is a pricey bit of hardware, with a monthly subscription on top, and you still need to buy the games to play with it. It's not an appealing package when lined up against other game services. Of course, it doesn't help that it now turns out games can be more expensive to buy on Stadia than elsewhere.
Darksiders Genesis released on PC and Stadia yesterday, and players were quick to point out the Diablo-like take on the series is cheaper to buy outright on Steam than it is to buy from Google's store. According to Polygon, Darksiders will set you back $39.99 on Stadia, whereas it was is being sold on Steam for $29.99. It was even cheaper during pre-orders, where the game was on sale on Steam for $25.50.
Polygon approached the game's publisher, THQ Nordic, about the discrepancy and the publisher simply said that "THQ doesn't comment on their price policy."
When Stadia launched, pro members were offered significant discounts on its biggest games - you could buy Assassin's Creed Odyssey for 50% off, for instance. But that's not an offer pro members are getting across the board, and that's surely going to sting.
When Mark tried the new service out recently he was on board with the hardware, surprised by just how well it worked, saying it "is no gimmick". However, he also concluded that it was all too soon to say whether it was worth picking up: "The real proof in Stadia's pudding will not be now, but in a year's time. Sticking to their guns on developer partnerships, price points, incoming games, industry innovations and perhaps most importantly for Google, continual future support, is going to be the key to Stadia's success, or lack thereof."
The fact that price points are already an issue is worryingly telling.
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